According to John Hattie’s research in a 2017/2018 ranking, collective teacher efficacy (CTE) has the biggest positive impact on student learning. And the difference is quite large. CTE scored 1.57, with second place (self-reported grades) scoring 1.33, which represents an 18% increase in effect size. Why is this data important? Because this can shape where an educational administrator or policy maker puts their efforts when it comes time for staff professional development (PD). Ultimately we want to enact changes and policies that positively effect student learning. If we take Hattie’s research to be accurate, that CTE is by far the most effective way to increase student gains in the classroom, then we must ask ourselves, how do we increase CTE?
One way to begin is with education/PD. Not all teachers are aware of what CTE is. Collective teacher efficacy is defined as: “the collective belief of teachers in their ability to positively affect students.” Beliefs fall under the intangible core bottom line that at times is difficult to measure. Other bottom lines in education such as fiscal and academic have more quantitative data, money and percentages being much easier to use a traditional barometer. With the intangible core, or the culture of a school it may be much more difficult to put a number on. But now we have a number. 1.57: 18% greater than second place. With that data in mind it may require that we pay more attention to collective teacher efficacy in our schools.
Recently, in our March High School staff meeting at American School in Tegucigalpa we led a short (15 minute) teacher training on CTE that I share with you below in italics:
Objective : Understand the term ‘collective efficacy’ and share instance/s that you have caused learning since our last faculty meeting.
Collective Efficacy (4:18-5:07): The collective belief in teachers that they can positively effect student learning. The believe that “I (the teacher) cause/d learning”.
Collective efficacy currently has highest effect on student learning according to John Hattie.
Group discourse strategy : Mix-Freeze-Pair-Share
- 1-2 minutes: Write down a time that stands out for you in the last month of an example that you caused student learning.
- When signaled, freeze and pair with the nearest person.
- Share your responses.
- Mix, freeze and share again
- * Can be used with music
Recap: Collective efficacy has the highest effect on student learning. Thank you all for causing learning.
It was rewarding to listen to teachers share successes with each other. Those a-ha moments that teachers live for, when a teacher sees the light go on in a learner’s mind from what they have planned. PD for teachers + sharing successes with one another are two ways to increase CTE. Questions remain regarding how to gauge the level of teacher collective efficacy at your given school. Here is a link to a Collective Efficacy (CE) scale from seminal author Megan Tschannen-Moran’s website that is one way to measure CE at your school.
Given the fact that teacher collective efficacy is the biggest difference maker in student performance it may behoove us as educational leaders to explicitly teach the concept to our staff, give time for our staff to share successes with one another and measure the current state of Teacher Collective Efficacy at our schools.